There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about nasty cyber attacks crippling governments and businesses by using Ransomware?
But what is ransomware? And what can you do to protect yourself or your organisation from being affected?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software (also known as malware) that infects your computer and corrupts your files making them unusable. The criminals that created the ransomware than demand money from you to return your files back to a useable state. Tip: If you find yourself infected DO NOT pay the criminals as there is no guarantee your files will be restored or your computer be free of the virus.
This sort of attack can be extremely costly to an organisation, in both downtime and the recovery of files.
So how do you protect yourself from these sort of attacks?
- Use antivirus software. There are a few good free products out there so there is no real reason to not have any! Avira, AVG, and Avast, just to name a few.
- Ensure your other software is up to date (particularly Operating System updates – see Tips from Stay Smart Online about updates)
- Use strong passwords. A strong password should use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and shouldn’t be easy to guess (there are services like LastPass that can help you generate a strong password if you need help with this)
- Make regular backups of valuable files (including offline backups). If you need some guidance on this I will write-up a guide soon, until then Stay Smart Online has some good basic advice.
- Don’t click on links in emails or messages or open attachments from unknown sources. Learn how to identify a malicious email
- Learn how to use email and browse the internet safely
- Stay informed of the latest threats by signing up for Stay Smart Online’s Alert Service
Have you paid the ransom?
If you have previously been infected and provided your credit card details to the scammer please contact your financial institution immediately and talk to their fraud department for help.
What tips, tricks or advice do you have to stay safe online? Do you have any questions you would like answered? Please share in the comments below.
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